Ashli Babbitt's murderer exonerated in disgraceful official investigation
American cities burned when a career criminal named George Floyd died in police custody while on a lethal dose of fentanyl. But Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was shot to death by a senior Capitol Police officer — a lieutenant — with a troubling history and was exonerated by an official investigation without even being interviewed.
Because Ms. Babbitt was the wrong race and of the wrong political persuasion, there is no fanning the flames of resentment, no riots, and no justice for Ashli Babbitt and her family.
Paul Sperry covers the outrage for Real Clear Investigations:
When U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd went on "NBC Nightly News" to tell his side of shooting and killing unarmed Jan. 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt, he made a point to note he'd been investigated by several agencies and exonerated for his actions that day.
"There's an investigative process [and] I was cleared by the DOJ [Department of Justice], and FBI and [the D.C.] Metropolitan Police," he told NBC News anchor Lester Holt in August, adding that the Capitol Police also cleared him of wrongdoing and decided not to discipline or demote him for the shooting.
Byrd then answered a series of questions by Holt about the shooting, but what he told the friendly journalist, he likely never told investigators. That's because he refused to answer their questions, according to several sources and documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations.
In fact, investigators cleared Byrd of wrongdoing in the shooting without actually interviewing him about the shooting or threatening him with punishment if he did not cooperate with their criminal investigation.
"He didn't provide any statement to [criminal] investigators and they didn't push him to make a statement," Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts said in an RCI interview. "It's astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is."
Lt. Michael Byrd.
You can watch the Byrd interview with Holt below:
In an exclusive interview with @LesterHoltNBC, Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd describes why he’s choosing to identify himself. Byrd shares his account of the January 6 riot, as officers barricaded the door and he fired a single shot, killing Ashli Babbitt. pic.twitter.com/Q4n7zUqS6N— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) August 27, 2021
A reader who is an attorney comments via email:
This was unquestionably a whitewash. There's no possible way you clear a person in this circumstance without even an interview. There's no possible way this was self-defense. Nor is there any other possible justification. There was nothing about Ashli Babbitt that was more threatening than any other protesters (in fact less). She had no gun or lethal weapon and in fact there were none at the protest at the Capitol.
And there was nothing about this police officer and his position that made it more justifiable to shoot someone. No other officer shot a protester and no other protesters were shot. No protesters were shot in all of the year's long Antifa BLM riots.
Officers are required to warn a person before shooting. Not only did he not warn her but the question is what would he warn her not to do or continue doing that posed a great threat to him or others. All of this is compounded by the fact that they didn't even make the officer answer any questions and they cremated Ashley Babbitt's body without the permission of her husband within two days of her shooting.
If this isn't a cover-up there's never been one. To any thinking person this is a gross governmental injustice. It's completely un-American. Or as some politicians would say, this kind of behavior and its whitewash is a threat to our democracy.
To show you how politicized our country is there's no hue and cry in the in the press because she was a Trump supporter. And apparently it's all right to kill Trump supporters and it's unsurprising that the ACLU, which once was a protector of our civil liberties, is nowhere to be seen. That's because, the ACLU has now been politicized like most other of our major institutions.
Another reader asks:
Is there anything that can stand in the way of the wrongful death lawsuit? Would that be a jury trial? Would the proceedings be public either live or via transcript? I assume Byrd can still be tried criminally if Republicans control the Justice Department — administrative exoneration would not qualify as double jeopardy. Republican House can hold hearings and subpoena him (at which time he would probably take the 5th).
Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab.